North Blenheim in Schoharie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Old Blenheim Bridge
Nicholas Montgomery Powers
Famous bridge builder
Born Pittsford, Vermont, August 30, 1817
Died Clarendon, Vermont, 1897
This bridge, 232 feet in length, the
longest covered single-span wooden
bridge in the world, was built for the
Blenheim Bridge Company, and was used
as a toll bridge for many years
Not far from this bridge the Tory,
William Beacraft, was whipped to
death by his infuriated neighbors
after the Revolution. He was buried
at the spot where he fell
The bridge is now under the custody
of Schoharie County
Erected 1935 by New York State Education Department & Schoharie County Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
Location. 42° 28.354′ N, 74° 26.449′ W. Marker is in North Blenheim, New York, in Schoharie County. Marker is on Eastside Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. This marker, and others, are located beside the east portal of the bridge, just off of NYS Route 30 in North Blenheim, New York. Marker is in this post office area: North Blenheim NY 12131, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Blenheim Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Captain Jacob Hager (approx. 1.5 miles away); Manor House (approx. 2.2 miles away); Indian Trail (approx. 3.9 miles away); Gilboa Settlement (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Upper Fort 1777 (approx. 8 miles away); Timothy Murphy (approx. 8 miles away); Site of Battle (approx. 8.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in North Blenheim.
Regarding Old Blenheim Bridge. The Old Blenheim Bridge was located in the Town of Blenheim on State Route 30 in North Blenheim, Schoharie County, New York. It spaned the Schoharie Creek and was "double-barreled" or had two separate lanes. At 232 feet in length between the stone abutments, this bridge had the unique distinction of being "the longest covered single span wooden bridge in the world" and was one of only six remaining bridges in the world with two separated lanes. It was constructed of Long truss with a center arch. The bridge was built in 1854-5 by Nicholas M. Powers under contract for the Blenheim Bridge Company (inc. 1828) as a toll bridge and retired from use in 1931, and it was named a National Historic Engineering Landmark, as well as a National Historic Landmark, 1935.
It's interesting to note that the bridge was not built in place
Local lore has it that while the stone abutments were being built one of the masons was sent to fetch a jug of whiskey. Before they got a chance to open the jug and imbibe, the president of the bridge company, J. Dickinson, who was a "teetotaller" (it's an archaic term by today’s standard, a tetotallar being someone who practices and promotes the complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages) arrived unannounced to inspect the progress of the bridge. The masons were forced to hastily hide the jug in the first available spot which happened to be a niche in the abutment. As work proceeded at a quicker pace under the eagle eye of the company president, who wouldn't leave, the masons were forced to build up the stonework around the jug before it was rescued, and supposedly it remains there to this day.
The picturesque old bridge has had many adventures. It has been afire three times and is now insured like any ordinary house. Twice the roof caught fire from windblown sparks and embers from burning buildings in the village. And once, many years ago, when traveling tinkers went about mending pots and pans, carrying a small charcoal stove to heat
On August 28, 2011, record flooding along the Schoharie Creek, due to Tropical Storm Irene, resulted in the bridge being washed away and completely destroyed.
The Old Blenheim Bridge is listed as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. See the respective pictures here, and the Blenheim Bridge Marker in the "Other nearby markers" section for more information.
Also see . . . Blenheim Covered Bridge Historic Marker. Some very interesting background information on the Blenheim Covered Bridge. (Submitted on September 28, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
Additional keywords. Covered Bridge Double Barrel Nicholas Montgomery Powers Tory William Beacraft
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 2,076 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 10, 11. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 12. submitted on , by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 13, 14. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 15. submitted on , by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.